There’s few cases in editing commercials, short films, wedding videos, or any kind of video where you won’t need music of some kind, whether it’s featured more prominently (even for a few seconds) or softly underlying the rest of the audio you’re using. When used appropriately, in good taste, and with the right dips, rises, and transitions, music of course adds to the production value. In a way, audio is half of what you’re truly seeing in the video and it’s important. And a good music choice can take a video from so-so to spectacular. However don’t expect to get by with royalty-free options– while there are some exceptions to this rule, usually this kind of stock music either sounds “cheap” or has been being used by editors constantly for years to the point that everyone is sick of hearing it in videos. I know I’ve seen thousands of videos and short films that use the same Kevin MacLeod songs over and over again. In this blog post, I’m going to give some opinions on sites I like to use for music licensing. A lot of times, you get what you pay for too, so that’s always something to keep in mind when proposing a budget and proportioning funds for music.
I use The Music Bed quite a bit for projects and it’s one of my favorites. They just updated their site as well, making it so much easier to find a great composition. You can do searches based off commercial, non-commercial, genre, mood, artist, characteristics, length, instrument, instrumental/lyrical/vocal, etc. For the quality of music and artists they have involved, the pricing is quite reasonable. As you can see by the pricing here, it is based on whether it’s for wedding/photo, non-profit, business/corporate, or independent film.
I haven’t used Audiosocket nearly as much, but their site is intuitive and offers a ton of options for finding the right music track for your video. Their search is based off keywords, genres, moods, themes, vocals, instruments, and tempos. Like The Music Bed, they use a lot of really talented, unique artists and it produces some great search results. The pricing is here and it’s actually mostly less expensive. I’m planning on trying to use Audiosocket more the next project I’m working on.
BeatPick is a British-based site with a pretty good library of music. While the design of the site isn’t as great as the two listed above, I do like a lot of the descriptions it will list next to songs to describe them. “Funky song about sunshine”, “Indie song about breaking up”, “soul song about balance”… it’s descriptive and can help you as you do keyword searches or scroll through options. The pricing is pretty reasonable as well and it’s mostly just based on a song by song basis with what your intent and distribution with the video is.
Melody Loops is pretty different than the ones listed above and it is best utilized for videos where you need a either a very small portion of a song or for music in the background, on loop, or as a secondary factor to other audio. It has a nice feature for actually downloading the tracks in any length you need them to be, giving you an audio file customized for your production. You can select tracks based on genres, mood, instruments, or style. Some of the tracks sound cheaper/blander than others, but priced at just $10 for a license (and sometimes there’s sales!), it’s a great inexpensive option.
I was a little resistant to mentioning this one since the library itself is not that extensive. But because I actually have used this free source before for videos, I felt it is worth mentioning. And I’m not sure that many people are actually aware it exists. It’s royalty-free music with some options that are actually pretty decent. You can search based off genre, mood, instrument, and duration. Worth checking out until they become over-used at least!
Hire a musician! The inevitable problems with licensing music are that there’s only so many options available ultimately, sometimes the cues or length or changes in the music don’t work just right, and you’re having to Frankenstein-edit an audio track to get it to function. When the funds or goodwill are available, I say hire a local artist, musician, or music group to compose or record custom music work for your project. This will give the finished product something truly unique and you won’t encounter the awkward moment of stumbling across hearing “your song” you licensed on another video.
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